A slo-pitch softball tournament for the churches of Classis Alberta North (a regional group of churches) produced more than just bragging rights. The first ever Grand Slam Slo-Pitch softball tournament also raised money for and awareness of Neighbourhood Life.
Eighty players on five teams representing seven churches brought their gloves and bats to Devon, Alberta, the weekend of July 10-12, 2015.
All proceeds went to Christian Reformed Home Missions in support of three Neighbourhood Life initiatives currently taking place in Classis Alberta North.
One of those initiatives is Avenue Church, a relatively new church plant in the Alberta Avenue area of Edmonton. It is an area of the city that has struggled with issues related to crime and poverty but where many signs of renewal are evident—physically, demographically, sociologically, and spiritually. The church is led by Aaron Au and his wife, April, who have bought a home in the neighborhood and have already made significant connections within the community.
Karen Wilk has been a pastor and missionary to her Edmonton neighborhood of Laurier Heights for the past number of years as well as being a Neighbourhood Life catalyzer for the region. Wilks left her work as a staff member at The River CRC to give more concerted time to developing her neighborhood and others as missional communities. A missional community is a body of believers in a specific locale who are passionate and intentional about incarnating Christ’s presence right where they live.
A missional community initiative is also happening in central Alberta, where Rick Abma left his position as youth pastor at Woodynook CRC in Lacombe to become a Neighbourhood Life pastor.
The tournament raised a couple of thousand dollars. “The idea,” explained Abma, “was to start with a template for the future. The other idea was to create awareness about Neighbourhood Life through conversations with the teams. That was a great opportunity to tell the stories of transformation through mission in the neighbourhood.”
As for bragging rights? The Neerlandia CRC team won the tournament by a narrow margin. Covenantha, a team made up players from Covenant and Maranatha CRCs in Edmonton, placed second.